Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Know Your Cybermen No.8

The Five Doctors (1983).
A brief one this. Only the second outing for the new Cyberman costumes, and already there is a (slight) bit of a design alteration. The "moon boots" of Earthshock had not been very popular, so the footwear is changed to proper boots. Other than that, these Cybermen are the same as those seen in the previous story.
No Cyberman plan as such this time, as these ones have been kidnapped from their proper time / place by Borusa and deposited in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, using the Time Scoop. It is the Time Lord President who has the convoluted scheme on this occasion. He wants the Doctor to deactivate the defences of the Dark Tower so that he can go there and claim immortality, yet puts lots of barriers in his way - such as a large number of Cybermen. He even gives them a means of tracking down the Doctor - using a homing device hidden in the recall device given to the Master.
One group of Cybermen is destroyed when it stumbles across the Raston Warrior Robot. A second batch, including one of the two Cyber-Leaders we see, is tricked into walking across a booby-trapped floor within the Tower. A third group attempt to blow up the TARDIS with a massive bomb.
One thing to note. Up to this point, the Cybermen have always been uniformly tall. There are a couple of noticeably shorter ones on view here. This would make sense if individuals are "upgraded" a bit at a time. Cyber spare parts are not all of a uniform size, apart from the head / shoulder sections.

Story Notes:

  • The Raston Warrior Robot Cyber-massacre sequences were directed by a second unit under producer John Nathan-Turner.
  • Probably the sequence people best remember, it was added late in the day as filler material.
  • The Third Doctor and Sarah were originally supposed to have met Autons instead.
  • The Raston Warrior Robot costume is one of the Earthshock sentinel androids painted silver.
  • Robert Holmes, who tackled the first version of this story, hated Cybermen - but script editor Eric Saward loved them. Holmes' initial idea was that the Cybermen wanted to identify the unique genetic element that allowed Time Lords to travel safely through time so they could use it themselves. They lured the Doctors to a planet named Maladoom, and had prepared android replicas of the First Doctor and Susan (thus explaining the different actor playing the First Doctor). Of course, Holmes kept the idea of the search for the Time Lord genetic element for his later The Two Doctors.
  • Whilst most of the Cybermen seen in Earthshock were dancer friends of PA Gary Downie, and there was some control over height casting, many of the Cybermen we see at the Welsh locations are local extras - hence the height differences.

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